Dan Harmon School of Comedy Writing

Splitsider examines the way in which Community creator Dan Harmon approaches writing. One of the interesting connections Will Hines makes is how Harmon approaches every week of his NBC sitcom in the same manner he did with Channel 101 — where shows could be cancelled at any moment, so creators had to be inventive week in and week out.

Other shows are just as impressively dense — 30 Rock, for example — but Community is unique because its creator Dan Harmon loves talking about story structure. And the main place he did that was at his labor of love,Channel101.com.

Channel 101 is a showcase of five-minute zero budget television episodes, made by aspiring writers/comedians in Los Angeles. It was founded in 2003-ish by Harmon and his frequent comedy partner Rob Schrab as a place to make videos without having to worry about pleasing television executives. Born in pre-YouTube era, when five minutes was considered a short video, Channel 101 has been a underground comedy institution with such long-running favorites such as Yacht RockLaser FartThe House of Cosbys.

While fans visit channel101.com to see the videos, aspiring comedy writers plumbed the message boards and articles to read about Harmon’s advice for constructing stories. Here you can see the thinking that goes intoCommunity.

Also, don’t forget, tonight is the Pulp Fiction episode of Community.


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